Assistive Reading Version

Worship at Home - By David Godfrey

Middlesbrough and Eston Circuit - Sunday 21st July 2024

Hymn: StF 479, H&P 69,  ‘The king of love my Shepherd is’


Confession and words of assurance:  God of love and compassion, hear the cries of your people as in desperation we turn to you.  We are hard pressed on every side and look for answers to our problems in the pushing and shoving of power, ambition and greed.  Loving God, you call us to yourself and we are so noisy and troubled we fail to hear your voice.  Forgive our lack of attention to your voice of peace.  Forgive us when we turn away from you.  Heal us as we seek your presence and do your will.  Teach us to be compassionate towards others, just as you are compassionate towards us, and may we always be assured of the love of Jesus our shepherd and friend. Amen.  In Christ we are healed and become part of a new humanity, loved and forgiven by the Lord of Life.  Amen, Thanks be to God.

Reading:  Mark 6:30-34, 53-56.


There are crowds of desperate people in this story.  People who not only follow Jesus, but who run on ahead, cut him off, jump queues, and press through crowds in order to touch him.  “I know it’s your day off, Jesus, but I just need a moment of your time.  You don’t mind do you?”  Poor Jesus!  I don’t think anyone would have blamed him had he resorted to oaths or an angry outburst.  He was trying to escape to the other side of the lake.  All he wanted was a little rest and privacy, not crowds of desperate people.  

But Jesus was not angry with the people.  Instead the bible tells us that, “He had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”  This is typical of Jesus.  Compassion is mentioned only eight times in the gospels in relation to Jesus, but it is implied throughout his life and ministry.  He always seemed to act compassionately, especially towards those who were desperate.  And that word “compassion” is one we often underestimate.  If you look at the latin derivation of the word “com-passion’ it literally means with-suffering.  Or in other words it means standing alongside and being with those who suffer.  It is more than feeling sorry for someone, which you can do at a distance.  By definition of the word, it is impossible to have compassion and not stand alongside or get involved.    

In showing compassion, Jesus demonstrated what God is like.  God is not an angry old man who sits on a cloud, but someone who cares about the people he has made and who becomes intimately involved in their sufferings and struggles.  That involvement found its ultimate expression in the birth, life, suffering and death of Jesus.  The question is, if Jesus Christ is so determined to identify with us, stand alongside us and become like us, shouldn’t we also strive to become like him?  One way we become more Christ like is in following his heart of compassion and standing with those in need.  

Hymn:  StF 324 ‘In a byre near Bethlehem’



Lord, your compassion for the crowds that pressed in upon you was ever present.  May we show that same compassion to people in need.  We pray for refugees made homeless because of war or natural disaster.  We remember especially children whose young lives are being destroyed by violence and we continue to pray for them in Ukraine and Gaza.  We pray for your church throughout the world as it stands alongside hard pressed people.  May your church flourish in its mission of healing, reconciliation and peace.  We also pray for those who are sick, or grieving, or who are facing struggle of whatever kind.  May they know Christ’s presence in their time of need and be assured of his never failing love.  We offer our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.   Our Father…

Hymn:  StF 401, H&P 460, ‘Come sinners to the gospel feast’


In Christ we know love, healing, compassion and peace.  In Christ we are one, and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us always.


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